We arrived in Ulaan Bataar, the capital of Mongolia, at about 11.30pm. Bed was much later. Sleep seemed to have been in short supply. We left for our horse riding adventure at 7.30am. We certainly aren’t missing a moment here!!!
I’m not sure where to start or what to write about. The weather which ranged from horizontal snow in a blizzard to glorious hot sunshine? The food which was not quite what I was used to? The experience of going to the toilet in the middle of the Mongolian Steppe which stretches almost without undulation as far as the eye can see? Getting dressed in three thousand layers and learning to tie a del (traditional Mongolian coat)? Learning to canter on the Mongolian steppe? Falling off my horse? Sleeping in a ger? The horses or yaks or dogs or camels or livestock? The health of the grasslands after nomadic grassing? The actual riding experience?
There were so many wonderful things which happened I really ddon’t know which exciting part to relate first. As I am struggling a little to find computer time I will post a few photos as they paint clear pictures and give a great visual idea of the landscape and other aspects of the ride.
Me getting ready for day 2. I was feeling really good. My backside was sore where I had landed after a spectacular somersault off my horse (he had stepped into a hidden hole, making him drop is front shoulder and me to practise some gymnastics!) but beside this my legs and other muscles were surprisingly fine. Feeling a tiny bit more confident!
Adjustments before setting out. Catherine and our main guide Baggi. THe horses are short and strong and never stop. They have a “jiggly” gait which is very different to the horses I rode in Australia.
Panorama at Lunch on Day 1. Trying to find a slightly more private bump for a toilet stop!
My first day on a horse and taking photos!! Not so good at this combo yet but despite blur this gives you an idea of the landscape dotted with gers (the traditional Mongolian houses) and the generally treeless hills.
Yaks are the cutest animals especially viewed from the top of a horse! Yak wool socks are sooooo warm.
The beautiful Mongolian camels. These are the only ones we saw.
Obviously domesticated, these camels really look regal. This is the first time I have seen camels with two humps.
Waking up the after the first night in the tent. I have a down sleeping bag and a del (Mongolian coat) over me and several layers of clothes. I was snug as a bug in a rug.
Riding past a shamanic site. There were several teepee style erections – 3 poles together with hundreds of sashes tied around them. They were colourful. We were close to the city here.
Baggi putting on his del. The sash is 7m long and it has to be tight to stay on all day.
Typical countryside we rode through.
Watering the horses. This horse is the one I rode. Generally the horses are not named which takes a little getting used to.
Sharing a good pool a clear water. The few water courses we came across were clear. Even the main river flowing through Ulaan Bataar, a capital city with 1.5 million inhabitants was clear and flowing without sediment or rubbish.
An eclectic set of photos to give you a taste of day 1 and 2. I didn’t take that many photos as I was concentrating so much on staying on (with only one fall – that was the one and only fall of my trip). Also the horses here are quite skittish when it comes to objects on the ground. We had to change our planned route which was away from the city and go closer to the city where there was more loose rubbish so we had to be ever vigilant of moving objects.
Needless to say I was nervous about my first ever day in the saddle!! What a sense of achievement at the end of the day!